Abandoned rose gardens in Needville, Texas
One of my favorite old garden rose nurseries of all time was the Vintage Rosery in Fort Bend County. It is about an hour from Houston where I live and had some five acres of beautiful gardens. Unfortunately, one of the owners suddenly died (what was her name?) and her husband never reopened. That was many, many years ago.
Anyway, I was headed down to the coast last week and drove by the place. A new restaurant opened next door so we stopped there for lunch. (Awesome food, BTW!) So I was talking to the owner of the restaurant and he told me the nursery owner moved to Costa Rica after his wife died but couldn't bear to dig up her gardens. So, he kept his gardener on full time to keep caring for the roses all these years! And they are closed to the public! OK, the gardens are not really abandoned, per se, as they are being somewhat cared for. But no one goes to see them. No one! Is that weird?
Well, I just couldn't resist getting lost and wondering across the driveway and walking through all the gardens. Oh my God! They were all in bloom and smelled so wonderful. Hundreds of varieties. Some still had the botanical markers. Most did not. I found a climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison! I have never seen one before, but I knew that is what it had to be as there was a 20' row of the shrub variety nearby. Did I mention the fragrances were overwhelming? We wondered for more than an hour looking for our way back to our car. :) There has to be more than a thousand rose bushes amongst all the gardens surrounding a large lake. It seemed rather unreal walking among all those beautiful old roses and being the only ones there. I just didn't want to leave. It sort of seemed like my own secret garden.
My only regret is not having my camera with me. But we are going back and will have it with us in case we get lost again. I cannot imagine what that place will look like in the spring.
Should anyone else happen to be driving down Hwy 36 and see The Jay Cafe across from the Needville High School, I strongly suggest you stop to eat there and lose your way as you look for your car.